Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson Contracts COVID-19

Johnson is fully vaccinated and boosted.

By - Jan 2nd, 2022 05:17 pm
Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson walks to his mayoral office for the first time, flanked by chief of staff Jim Bohl (left) and son Oliver (right). Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson walks to his mayoral office for the first time on Dec. 22, flanked by chief of staff Jim Bohl (left) and son Oliver (right). Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson‘s whirlwind tour of city facilities is on hold. Johnson, like thousands of other Milwaukeeans in recent weeks, tested positive for COVID-19.

“As part of my routine of regular COVID testing, I received a positive result today from an at-home test,” said Johnson in a statement. “I am feeling fine, and the symptoms I have experienced are very mild. Others in my family have tested negative.”

After becoming acting mayor on Dec. 22, Johnson has been on a seemingly nonstop tour of the city. He was ceremonially sworn in on Dec. 23 at Bay View High School (where attendees had to test negative) and served meals at The Gathering on Dec. 24. After the Christmas holiday, Johnson attended a memorial celebration at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center for a memorial event on the 27th, visited the city’s Northwest Health Center testing and vaccination clinic on the 28th, toured a Department of Public Works yard on the 29th, held a press event at the Washington Park Library on 30th and rang the bell at Milwaukee City Hall on 31st.

“As I have shared previously, I am vaccinated and boosted. Routinely, I have worn a mask in public settings,” said Johnson. He took his first dose of the Moderna vaccine on camera in March and wears a mix of cloth and more-protective KN95 masks in public.

Johnson has also spent time at many private events in recent weeks, as he is one of at least nine candidates running for mayor. He hosted a fundraiser at Camp Bar, 525 E. Menomonee St., on Dec. 30.

During a press briefing Sunday evening, Johnson said he is tested daily. He said he first experienced a symptom on Dec. 31 after collecting signatures outside, but believed it to be a result of being outside in the cold. He said he tested negative subsequent to that.

“I will continue to carry out all my mayoral duties from my home,” said Johnson. He lives in the city’s Capitol Heights neighborhood with his wife and three children.

He will also need to continue to perform his duties as Common Council President and 2nd District alderman (except voting on council business). But the council has allowed members to participate virtually since the pandemic took hold.

Johnson’s predecessor, Tom Barrett, spent two weeks at home in March and April 2020 as a result of close exposure to someone who tested positive.

Driven by the Omicron variant, the spread of COVID-19 has accelerated in recent weeks.

According to the Milwaukee Health Department website, as of Dec. 23 at 2:00 p.m. there have been 102,451 positive cases of COVID-19 in the city and 884 deaths. As acknowledged by the health commissioner and demonstrated by Johnson’s test, recent data is less reliable because of the growing prevalence of at-home tests.

The city’s three testing sites were closed Saturday and Sunday as a result of the New Year’s holiday.

When asked Tuesday if the city should have a new mask mandate, the acting mayor deferred to Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson (no relation) who said she supported one only if it was broader than the city proper. Both the mayor and commissioner said it would take more than city action to end the pandemic and encouraged vaccination.

The acting mayor doubled down on the vaccination push during his Sunday briefing. “I am experiencing mild symptoms from having COVID, this could be a lot worse… I could be hospitalized potentially,” he said. Johnson encouraged others to get vaccinated and boosted to reduce the health risk to themselves and to others, and to reduce the strain on the healthcare system.

The mayoral primary election is scheduled for Feb. 15. Candidates must submit at least 1,500 signatures by Jan. 11 to appear on the ballot, but need not collect the signatures themselves.

Categories: City Hall, Politics, Weekly

One thought on “City Hall: Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson Contracts COVID-19”

  1. Wardt01 says:

    Jeremey, could you do a piece that includes the rules (with links to the direct city ordinance or source) for collecting the signatures, what locations are prohibited (ie: inside city hall?), and the specific requirements for legal valid signatures. how are signatures verified, how are challenges handled, who has final. say, etc

    Get ahead of this,!!

    it’s going to be a boondoggle with all these job-hoppers sniffing the bacon

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